The Nagoe-kiridoshi is an ancient passageway located between Kamakura and Zushi in Kanagawa Prefecture. Kamakura has many kiridoshi: man-made passageways for defensive purposes. The Nagoe-kiridoshi is one of the seven major kiridoshi in Kamakura, and reaches from Boso to Rokuura.
'Nagoe' means 'difficult pass', owing to the fact that the route involved some climbing.
An 'okirigishi', or man-made carved cliff, some 300m long, can also be found in the vicinity. Formerly a rock quarry, it was carved into a barricade with much labor, evidence that the Nagoe-kiridoshi was a vital defensive position.
After the Edo period, the Asaina-kiridoshi was turned into the central road for traffic and, in turn, the Nagoe-kiridoshi was forgotten. This is one of the reasons why it has kept its original form for many years. The Nagoe-kiridoshi is an ancient passageway that has been designated a National Monument, and which even now, retains its distinct historical atmosphere.
Tsurugahara is a beauty spot in Kusu, Oita Prefecture. The area features a pond surrounded by strange stones and it is said that a cottage belonging to the Mori domain head used to stand here. Since long ago, the beautiful water scenery has been famous.
Standing grandly in the weathered Yaba valley that surrounds the pond, are large round stone column joints and pillars as well as rocky mountains. The rocks and red pines are reflected on the silent surface of the pond.
A small island covered with pines and azaleas lends further calm to the ambience of this spot. It's almost as if you were in a Japanese garden.
There are numerous Buddhist stones as well as 13 Buddhist statues set in 88 places. The weathered surface of the Buddhist stones adds to their intriguing aspect.
Tsurugahara is a beauty spot that gives us different views in each of the four seasons: fresh green in spring; red leaves in autumn; and snow in winter.
Ho Toge Pass, between Johana and Mt Goka, was an important route for travelers as well as for the transport of daily commodities. Of the five passes from Mt Goka to Johana--which included Sugio, Ho, Karaki, Oze and Bunao--Ho Toge Pass was the most popular.
Because Ho Toge Pass was so widely used, the Kaga Domain established a watchhouse on the pass where travelers to the domain could rest or shelter from snow in winter. Even after Hoso New Pass was established in 1887 (Meiji 20), Ho Toge Pass remained popular as a shortcut to Johana and the only pass in winter.
Today, Ho Toge Pass is a safe route where people can walk among nature. Along the route are many landmarks, explanatory notice boards and statues dedicated to the god of safe travel. Many people hike along this route every year.
Near the Kurobe Tateyama Alpine Route, on Beech Plain (Bundadaira), there is a giant tree known as the Tateyama Cedar. This tree has been designated by the Forestry Agency as one of Japan's 100 giant trees.
Though it is not so tall at 21m, it has a trunk with a girth of 9.4m. Tateyama cedars are so-called 'stand cedars': low in height but with thick trunks. Whether the Tateyama Cedar on Beech Plain is one tree or two grown into one is uncertain. The presence of this tree, however, is overwhelming, and there is an eerie atmosphere around it, as if a spirit lived within it.
The best way to approach the Tateyama Cedar is from the natural observation pass from Bijo Plain at the entrance of Midagahara Plateau to Bunazaka. You will see other cedars as well as the Tateyama Cedar. So many wonderful cedars together with beeches give a marvellous sense of the natural richness of this forest.
Kurobe Lake is an artificial lake formed by the completion of Kurobe Dam in 1963. It is located near the town of Tateyama in Toyama Prefecture, at the foot of the Japan North Alps.
Meltwater from the North Alps runs into the lake, which is surrounded by original beech forest. The emerald green water is very beautiful with the Tateyama and Ushiro Tateyama mountain ranges reflected on the lake's quiet surface.
At 1448m, the lake offers the highest point in Japan where you can take a cruise. Comfortable cruises are available from 1 June to 10 November. You will be moved by the beauty of the North Alps and the sight of the majestic trees changing through the four seasons. From late September to early October, the beech trees at the shore turn from green to yellow, adding a vivid touch to the mystery of the scenery.
Akame 48 (Shijuhachi) Waterfalls are located in Akame Town, Nabari City, Mie prefecture, and are part of a beauty spot where a pure stream runs through deep forest.
The river leading to the waterfalls runs east to west from Mie prefecture to Nara prefecture. There is a 4 kilometer walk along the banks of the river, from where you can observe the beauty of each season: cherry blossom, summer verdure and fall leaves, in addition to the waterfalls.
The name Akame comes from the story that Enno Gyoja, a founder of the Shugen-do sect, saw the Fudo King riding a cow with red eyes (in Japanese, 'akame' means 'red eyes').
Akame's five major waterfalls (Fudo, Sente, Nunobiki, Ninai and Biwa) are included among Akame's 48 waterfalls. Akame 48 Waterfalls have also been selected as among Japan's 100 major waterfalls, 100 best forest-bathing spots and 100 best river walks. You can happily hike or take it easy in the woods.